I kept a secret from Daniel for nearly two months. I booked a trip to Puerto Rico back in October to celebrate Daniel’s 30th birthday (which falls just after Christmas). I planned the entire thing behind Daniel’s back and didn’t tell him until he’d opened a series of gifts that hinted at the trip (beach towels, new flip flops, a beachy ornament for our Christmas tree, and finally, two guide books for Puerto Rico). When he opened the box with the guide books inside, all of the secret keeping was worth it for this face…
So one week after Daniel’s birthday, we hopped on a plane from 20 degree weather in Kansas City to 80 degree weather in Old San Juan! I found a cute little loft on Home Away right in the heart of Old San Juan, which allowed us easy access to cute little restaurants and shops.
We spent our first full day in Old San Juan… mainly checking out the two large forts, Castillo de San Cristóbal and El Morro and walking around the city. The views of Old San Juan from both forts were totally breathtaking, and you could easily spend hours just wandering around looking at everything. We paid $10 total for access to both forts – so cheap!
We utilized the Puerto Rico Day Trips website to figure out what to see – it was very helpful and pointed out some destinations that we may have missed if left to our own devices… and it was how we found out there is a free trolley that will take you to all of the main sections of Old San Juan, so even though this area is totally walkable, we took the trolley when our feet got tired of walking on the cobblestone…
We hit up a few really good restaurant, namely Pirilo Pizza Rustica (ask to eat upstairs!) and Waffle-Era (cream cheese mini waffle – yuuuuum!), both of which made me wish there was a way I could transport them to KC so I could eat them whenever I wanted. Actually, one of my favorite memories of the trip was sitting by the window at Waffle-Era watching a storm roll over the harbor.
One thing I really didn’t like about Old San Juan (and Puerto Rico overall) was the huge number of stray cats and dogs. There are over 250k stray dogs on the island of Puerto Rico and only 5 shelters to accomodate them. It was hard for me to concentrate on having fun when I saw so many animals in need… and people would just walk on by like they weren’t even there. I think Daniel was a little annoyed with how often I would get sad about a stray dog begging for food or when a cat would follow us and brush against my leg for attention. Or when I would make him go look for the homeless lady with three dogs so I could give her my leftovers… or my umbrella. Basically, my crazy animal lady-ness came out in full force in Puerto Rico.
Overall, I really enjoyed the liveliness, color, and history that Old San Juan had to offer… but what really made me fall in love with Puerto Rico was when we got out of town and did some exploring… which I will share more about next week….